17 more cases of Omicron subvariant Arcturus detected in PHL; total at 28

(Eagle News) — Seventeen more cases of the COVID-19 Omicron subvariant XBB.1.16 or Arcturus have been detected in the Philippines.

According to a Department of Health report, of the 279 samples sequenced by the Philippine Genome Center, 41 cases of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.3.20, one XBC, four other sublineages, and  34 with no assigned lineage were also detected.

Also found were 101 new local cases of XBB.1.9.1; 25 XBB.1.5; 17 XBB.1.9.2; 10 XBB.2.3; and 29 other XBB sublineages.

The DOH has said XBB.2.3 is an XBB sublineage added to the World Health Organization’s list of  “variants under monitoring” in May.

Arcturus cases

The DOH said of the 17 more Arcturus cases detected through genome sequencing from May 15 to May 19, seven were in Western Visayas, five in Davao Region, two in the National Capital Region, and one each in Bicol Region, Central Visayas, and Mimaropa.

With the additional cases, the total Arcturus caseload in the country is at 28.

The Arcturus subvariant has been classified as a “variant of interest” by the WHO.

It’s a “variant under monitoring” on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s list.

Health officer-in-charge Ma. Rosario Vergeire has said a local transmission was already likely in the Philippines since there was “no linkage” between the cases detected.